Stanley Park is must-visit while on a city break to Vancouver. Unlike other city-centre parks located in a large urban sprawl, this stretch of green is way more than just leafy shrubs. In fact, it’s a great day out within itself and we recommend everyone sets aside some time to explore it. Here’s just a taster of what you can find behind the entry gates.
Beaches and Lakes
Stanley Park sticks out of Vancouver’s Pacific coastline and offers beach lovers a sandy escape in the middle of a big city. The secluded Third Beach on the park’s southern coast is home to soft sands for you to relax into while watching the sun dip into the Pacific Ocean. Slightly in-land there is the popular English Bay Beach, which you’ll find just before the park officially starts.
Holding the accolade of being Canada’s largest aquarium, the Vancouver Aquarium is home to 70,000 creatures including dolphins, sea otters, anacondas, three-toed sloths and eels. Children will love the educational programmes that include feeding, helping train and learning about the habitats and lifestyles of dolphins, sea lions, sea otters and sea turtles.
The Aquarium isn’t the only family-friendly activity available in Stanley Park. There is the Stanley Park Miniature Railway, Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours, the Stanley Park Ecology Society and plenty of grassy areas for a picnic.
You’ll probably get peckish exploring Stanley Park, but don’t worry as there’s three dining options. Firstly, there’s Prospect Point Café for a casual bite to eat including salads, sandwiches, burgers and a seafood-centric entrée list. There’s also the Stanley’s Park Bar & Grill, which is also casual and is worth a visit for its impressive beer and wine list alone. Then there’s The Teahouse, a fine-dining alternative for those who fancy something more luxurious for either brunch, lunch or dinner.
If you fancy a long scenic walk without leaving the city, Stanley Parks boasts the popular Vancouver Seawall. This 22 kilometre (13.5 mile) pedestrian path runs the edge of Stanley Park and extends into the city passing by some of its best sights. It’s a great way to see as much of the city as you can if you’re only there for a short time.
Outdoor swimming pool
It’s not just beaches that offer visitors a chance to cool off. The Second Beach Pool sits right on the coast and offers lovely views of English Bay as it slowly expands into the Pacific Ocean. The pool itself is heated and there’s also a waterslide and even a lap lane for people wanting to work in some fitness to their holiday itinerary!